I have been listening and sharing stories of how ‘Black Lives Matter’ is affecting us individually. Revisiting our own experiences of racism is draining and tiring. I salute the people who speak up and share their stories. I am proud of our younger people for challenging overt and institutionalised racism with such passion and articulation. Yet I feel sad that seeing our children or grandchildren having to speak up the very thing that we have been challenging for decades.
I joined an equality organisation after I encountered a Pakistani boy aged five 25 years ago. He was referred to my project because of unsociable behaviour at school. It turned out he was racially bullied by other children of the same class. Naively I said to myself, I would make this stop. I didn’t want the boy to continue to suffer the racism I suffered when I was at school. I thought I would campaign for better policies, better recording of racial bullying in schools and bring justice to those who were being discriminated against in education or workplace.
I have continued to do this, in different roles over the past 25 years, everytime thinking I am making a difference. ‘No one will experience the same discrimination’, I say to myself and the person I represent in every case I support and yet I am still dealing with many unimaginable discrimination cases. ‘Our data will inform our policies’ I say at partnership meetings and yet employers and services still do not routinely record protected characteristics data.
We are the second generation. It was supposed to be our job to make things better for our future generations. Our parents were too busy working hard to keep us housed and fed. They didn’t have time for education. They sweated and sacrificed so we could have a better life. Quite frequently, they had to literally physically fight off the racist attackers.
Now we hear our children and grandchildren telling the world the pain they experience everyday in Scotland and in the UK because of the colour of their skin. I feel I have failed them.
The system we are all working in allow us to make occasional change but not fundamental change. It gives us enough hope so we keep on going not knowing that the power paradigm has not changed a bit.
I want to say a sincere apology to our children, grandchildren and our future generations that they will have to continue the fight to challenge an unjust system. Things will get worse as we are going to experience one of the worst global recessions in our lifetime. Racial hatred towards Black, Asians and Minority Ethnic people will rise when jobs are scarce. Let’s not talk about lessons learnt or next steps yet, let’s talk about how we need to protect our future generations from further harm. Let’s untangle some of the key issues so we are not kicking the same can down the timeline. Let’s talk of racial equality as part of anti-poverty. Let’s talk of anti-racism as part of inclusive education. Let’s talk of tackling hate as part of tackling serious crime.
Again I am sorry that I haven’t managed to stop what happened to me happening to other people. Until the power structure fundamentally changes, I guess no one will truly stop racial or other forms of injustice.
Nina Munday, Manager of Fife Centre for Equalities:
Nina has over 25 years’ experience of working in the equality sector in the UK. Throughout her career she held senior executive positions in many strategic organisations. Most recently, Nina was the Diversity and Inclusion Consultant for Singapore Disabled People’s Association for two years and Director of Edinburgh and Lothians Regional Equality Council for eight years.
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